Seeded Parsnip Sweet Braid

Parsnips, traditionally used in savory dishes, can bring a subtle sweet tenderness to your baked goods. Actually, when roasted or sautéed, their sugars caramelize richly and are well complemented by a variety of seasonings such as orange or lemon zest, ginger and cardamom.

All summer long we grate zucchini and fold it into our batter for a moist and delicious loaf. September rolls around and we switch to apple or pumpkin. When we don’t have those ingredients on hand, we can always rely on carrot or banana bread to satisfy our craving for what is basically cake in disguise.

Root vegetable desserts aren’t exactly a new concept. Incorporating vegetables such as beets, asparagus, sweet potatoes and parsnips … yes, parsnips! That root vegetable that probably only makes an appearance at your table, maybe once or twice a year is actually perfect for moist, cake-y breads etc.

Parsnips look a lot like carrots and can be grated on a box grater the same way. They even share carrot’s subtle sweetness, but parsnips have an earthier, more interesting flavor that pairs perfectly with warm baking spices like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. That makes it easy to change up the flavor of your sweet bread, taking it in a distinctly fall/winter direction.

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Seeded Parsnip Sweet Braid
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Parsnips
Glaze
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Parsnips
Glaze
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Instructions
Parsnip
  1. Peel & chop parsnip into chunks; place in a pot & cover with water. Bring to a boil & cook until parsnip is fork tender. Remove parsnip from water & measure out 3/4 cup & set aside to cool to lukewarm. Puree parsnip until smooth & measure out 3/4 cup. Allow to cool until lukewarm.
Bread
  1. In a bowl, combine yeast, lukewarm parsnip water & 1 tsp sugar. Allow to sit for about 3 minutes until frothy. Add 3/4 cup pureed parsnips & 2 Tbsp melted butter; combine.
  2. Whisk together, flour, remaining sugar, spices, salt & seeds. Add to the parsnip/yeast mixture & mix until a dough forms. The dough should be a little sticky, but still workable. If the dough seems too wet, add in another 1/4 cup flour at a time, just till it is not overly sticky.
  3. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface & knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough starts to look glossy & has an elastic quality to it. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with a towel & place in a draft free place for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. When dough has risen, place on a lightly floured work surface & roll the dough out into a rectangle roughly 12 x 16-inches. Cut the dough lengthwise into strips 3-inches wide with a pizza cutter or knife. You should have 4 strips.
  5. Transfer the strips to a parchment lined baking sheet a couple of inches apart. Pinch the 4 strands together at the top & start to braid.
  6. Take the left strand & move it over 2 strands (to the right) & under 1 strand back to the left. Switch to the other side: take the most right strand & lift it over 2 strands to the left & back under one strand to the right. Repeat, alternating from left side to right side until loaf is complete. Pinch ends together. Form the braid into a coil like a snail shell. The fuller, top of the braid should be the center, then keep wrapping around until you reach the end. Tuck the end under. It should be fairly snug. Cover with buttered plastic wrap & allow to sit in a warm, draft free place for about 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  8. Before placing braid in the oven, brush with melted butter. Bake for roughly 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
Glaze
  1. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar & lemon juice; beat until smooth. Adjust glaze to consistency you prefer. When braid has cooled, brush with glaze. Sprinkle with whole anise seeds & candied ginger if you wish.

Grated Shortbread Bars w/ Saskatoon Berry Filling

Ever thought of grating your shortbread dough? Perhaps frilly doesn’t quite capture these bars. Airy doesn’t quite fit either, but compared to other shortbread I’ve made, that’s exactly what they are. You see, instead of the dense texture associated with many recipes for shortbread bars, these are light (but no less buttery) because you shred the frozen dough on the coarse holes of a grater before baking. The final product is almost chewy, with an open-crumb texture, something that you wouldn’t get if you just rolled the dough. By avoiding the use of pressure, the dough bakes with all the air pockets between the grated pieces, melding into an almost fluffy result which crumbles and melts in your mouth. The glue for the two layers is the saskatoon berry filling.

Here on the Canadian prairies we have a native berry called a ‘Saskatoon’. These berries are very special …. the kind of special that only comes once a year. Saskatoon berries look much like blueberries, but in fact are part of the rose family which includes apples, cherries, plums and of course roses. Trying to explain their flavor to anyone who has never tasted them is difficult and elusive. They’re sweet, dense, rich, seedy, slightly blueberryish, more almondish, a bit apple-y, dusky and deep. Like I said …. difficult to explain!

At this time of the year when these little gems are available, I always like to make numerous things with them as they work well in either sweet or savory applications. They certainly make a nice filling for these shortbread bars.

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Grated Shortbread Bars w/ Saskatoon Berry filling
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BARS
Ingredients
Saskatoon Berry Filling
Shortbread Crust
Servings
BARS
Ingredients
Saskatoon Berry Filling
Shortbread Crust
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Instructions
Filling
  1. In a saucepan, combine berries & water & simmer for 10 minutes over low heat. In a separate bowl, mix sugar & cornstarch; add to berries & combine. Stir in lemon juice & vanilla; simmer until mixture slightly thickens. Set aside to cool.
Shortbread Crust
  1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, cardamom & salt. Using a pastry blender or a fork, cut in butter & lemon zest. Mix ONLY until combined, divide in half & wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Place in freezer until slightly frozen.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Remove one ball of dough from the freezer. Using the large hole side of a 4 sided grater, grate dough into a 4 1/2" x 14" baking pan. Pat the dough but don't press it, so it gets evenly spread in the pan.
  4. Carefully place the saskatoon filling evenly over the crust. Grate remaining ball of dough & carefully spread on top.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes or until shortbread is golden. Cool to room temperature on rack. Cut into 14 bars. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.
Recipe Notes
  • I found that if I placed the pan of bars in the freezer for about an hour, I was able to cut cleaner slices.

Glazed Blueberry Shortcakes

Shortcake is such a classic dessert that is perfect for spring and summer. True shortcake has history, even pedigree, but there is some confusion as to its name. ‘Short’ is an English word that means crisp. Or, more specifically, something made crisp with the addition of either butter or shortening.

Another issue with shortcake is whether it should be cake-like or biscuit-like. Some culinary researchers claim that’s a regional preference. Even though the name has English origins, most sources agree that shortcake was a North American invention. Being so versatile, this simple, elegant dessert can be made with any number of fruits and served warm or cold.

I am using some of the LorAnn company’s Blueberry Emulsion today, to add a real pop of flavor to the glazed blueberries. These should be so good!

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Glazed Blueberry Shortcakes
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Shortcakes
Lemon Drizzle
Servings
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Shortcakes
Lemon Drizzle
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Instructions
Shortcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Spray mini Bundt pans with baking spray. Then, add some all-purpose flour to each cavity, shake it around, and discard the excess.
  3. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Then add the vanilla, softened butter, milk, and egg. With an electric mixer, beat on medium speed for about two minutes. Gently fold in the fresh blueberries.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cavities in mini Bundt pans. Each cavity should be about 3/4 full.
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pan before attempting to remove them. Gently loosen each cake with your fingers then invert the pan to release the cakes onto a wire cooling rack.
Glazed Blueberry Topping
  1. Place 1 cup of the blueberries in a saucepan with 1/4 cup water, sugar & cornstarch. Bring to a boil & simmer until juicy & thick. Place the remaining berries & blueberry emulsion in a bowl; add glaze mixture & toss to coat.
Lemon Drizzle
  1. In a bowl, whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, and 2-3 tablespoons milk. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time to achieve the desired consistency.
To Serve
  1. Place shortcakes on individual serving plates. Drizzle with lemon glaze & top each cake with some glazed blueberries. Garnish with lemon zest.
Recipe Notes
  • LorAnn's Blueberry Emulsion tastes like fresh ripe berries.
  • Add instead of using blueberries or in addition to the fruit to add a punch of blueberry flavor and color. Use in any recipe as you would an extract - and experience better results. 1 teaspoon baking extract = 1 teaspoon emulsion

French Mussels w/ Bacon & Leek Risotto

Thanks for the memories! This phrase says it all when I think back to the wonderful time we spent in France. Although this holiday is now 20 years past, the memories remain very vivid and special.

My sister, Loretta had joined Brion & I on this French vacation which had made it even more special. Our journey began in Paris where we had rented a car, then travelled south (about 613 km/380 miles) to the sleepy little village of St Thibery. For this segment of our trip we had rented an apartment to use as ‘home base’ during our time in this part of France. Many of these houses are from the 14th,15th & 17th century. The apartment was quaint but adequate even having a roof top patio.

St Thibery is situated between the larger towns of Agde & Pezenas and is just a short distance from the Mediterranean Sea. On one of our day trips we visited the town of Agde. It is one of the oldest towns in France and is captivating by its maze of narrow streets. Agde was built of black basalt from a volcanic eruption thus the black color of its buildings.

It was here we discovered a nice restaurant where we enjoyed some classic French steamed mussels. It would be an understatement to say how much the three of us enjoyed this feast of fresh seafood.

During the time we spent in the area, we made the 20 minute drive from St Thibery to Agde just to have some more mussels on numerous evenings.

Brion & I decided to revisit the taste of those ‘French’ mussels today with our supper meal. Of course, nothing compares to the ‘taste of a memory’!

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French Mussels w/ Bacon & Leek Risotto
Instructions
Risotto
  1. Bring vegetable broth to a boil in a saucepan, then turn heat to low & keep at a simmer.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat; add bacon & sauté until crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain & set aside.
  3. Remove all but 2 Tbsp bacon drippings from skillet (add extra olive oil if necessary to equal 2 Tbsp) then add leeks, mushrooms & shallot. Turn heat up to medium-high; season with salt & pepper. Sauté until vegetables are tender & starting to turn golden brown, about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic & sauté for 1 minute. Add rice; stir to coat & cook for 1 more minute.
  4. Turn heat back to medium; add wine & stir until absorbed by rice. Add hot vegetable broth; stir near constantly until rice is tender & all the broth is absorbed, about 25 minutes. If broth gets to a hard boil, turn heat down. Remove skillet from heat; stir in thyme, parmesan cheese & cooked bacon. Keep warm until mussels are ready.
Mussels
  1. Heat olive oil & butter in a large pot over medium high heat. Sauté the onion & garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the mussels, wine, cream, butter & parsley. Season well with salt & pepper to taste.
  3. Mix well, cover pot with a lid & cook until mussels are cooked through & opened, about 12-15 minutes.
  4. Serve mussels along with the juices in the pan with risotto & crusty or garlic bread.

Lemon Fig Tart

I have always found the sweet, earthy flavor of figs so unique. Their high sugar content pairs perfectly with similarly intense flavors, adding a burst of sweetness to a savory dishes and a distinctive texture and aroma to sweet treats.

Figs are surprisingly easy to work and have endless ways to prepare them. Just to name a few ….

Pies & Tarts * Cakes * Puddings * Fig Rolls * With Cheese * On Pizza & Breads * With Meat * Salads * Stuffing * Or just let the natural beauty and taste of figs take center stage to end a dinner party.

Today, I chose to use some to decorate our lemon tart.

LEMON + FIGS = AMAZING!

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Lemon Fig Tart
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Course dessert
Keyword lemon fig tart
Servings
Ingredients
Shortbread Pastry
Lemon Filling
Glaze
Figs
Course dessert
Keyword lemon fig tart
Servings
Ingredients
Shortbread Pastry
Lemon Filling
Glaze
Figs
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Pastry
  1. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar & salt. Process for a few seconds then add butter. Pulse until mixture becomes crumbly and resembles coarse meal, about 15 pulses. Add egg & vanilla; pulse until dough is no longer dry & starts to clump together, about 10-15 seconds. Dough should be quite crumbly with large clumps.
  2. Place dough on a lightly floured surface & form into a ball. Flatten slightly to form a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Lemon Filling
  1. In the top of a double boiler saucepan, place eggs, sugar, lemon zest & cream (if using). Whisk to combine. Place top saucepan over boiling water (in the bottom of double boiler saucepan). Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture becomes thick, about 10-20 minutes. The filling will thicken more once cooled.
  2. Remove from heat & immediately strain mixture through a sieve. Add butter, a few cubes at a time, whisking until completely melted & incorporated. Mixture should be smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature before filling the tart shell.
Bake
  1. Remove dough from refrigerator & allow it sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften slightly for easy rolling. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle. Gently place into a tart pan (preferably with a removable bottom). Brush away any excess flour on the surface. With a sharp knife, trim the edges of the pastry to fit tart pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap & place in the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes to prevent it from shrinking.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F. Place rack in center of oven. Remove tart shell from freezer; press some parchment paper or foil tightly against the crust. Cover edges to prevent from burning. Fill with pie weights, distributing them evenly over entire surface. Bake crust for 20 minutes, until paper no longer sticks to dough. Transfer crust to a wire rack & remove weights & paper. Return to oven & bake about 10 minutes longer until golden brown. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
Glaze & Assemble
  1. In a saucepan, cook 1/4 cup sugar with 1/4 cup water over moderate heat. Stir occasionally, until sugar is dissolved & syrup is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
  2. Fill the baked tart shell with the lemon filling. Decorate with sliced figs. Brush the syrup lightly over the figs. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours until well chilled before serving.
Recipe Notes
  • An alternate glaze you could use would be heated orange or apricot preserves.

Apple ‘Aumoniere’ w/ Salted Caramel Sauce

Almost every country has its own version of crepes, but it was France’s Brittany region where the tools and techniques were first created and perfected.

The French tend to be a proud people and they hold dear the things that make them unique. In France, creperies are common everywhere and although the French are legendary for their disdain for le fast food, they have their own version of cuisine a la minute.

Crepes are the French answer to fast food. Nearly every street corner in the heart of Paris, has a stand de crepes. These crepes, eaten in the street, on the go, leaving you with a mouthful of sugar and sticky hands, are absolutely memorable. In less time than it takes to fry a burger, a competent crepier can cook a thin, eggy crepe, flip it, fill it, fold it and present it ready to eat.

In French, the word aumoniere is derived from the word aumone, which means, ‘giving money to someone in need’. An aumoniere represents a small purse (the pastry) with coins inside (the filling).

In July (2020), I posted a blog that featured Seafood Aumoniere. Today, I thought it would be nice to use that same technique in a dessert presentation. I find the contrast of the sweet & salty essence of caramel is delicious when combined with the tangy taste of apple.

As many trends in North America do, the salted caramel flavor started in high-end restaurants and gourmet shops. Then it appeared in top chain restaurants and premium supermarkets before finally ending up at superstores like Walmart.

The combination of sweet & salty foods makes for an appealing treat that creates a flavor which is both unique and appetizing. The trick to getting salted caramel right lies in the ratios. Too much salt and the balance is completely off, too much sweetness and it becomes sickeningly sweet. Its that sprinkle, that just barely there dash of salt in the sweet that awakens your taste buds and sends that pleasure to your brain.

It seems the earliest roots of salted caramel can be traced, once again, to Brittany, France where a chocolatier named Henri Le Roux pioneered the art form.

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Apple Aumoniere w/ Salted Caramel Sauce
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Crepe Batter
Salted Butter Caramel Sauce
Servings
Ingredients
Crepe Batter
Salted Butter Caramel Sauce
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Instructions
Crepes
  1. In a bowl, combine flour & cornstarch; pour in milk slowly while stirring constantly. Add eggs, oil, salt & vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.
  2. When batter is ready; heat oil or cooking spray in a crepe pan or skillet. Give the container of batter a quick tap on the counter. Place 1/4 cup of batter into the pan & swirl to even it out & form a circle. When edges start to pull away & the crepe looks cooked in the middle, give it a quick flip & cook for just 10-20 seconds on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter. Should yield 6-8 crepes.
Salted Caramel Sauce
  1. In a saucepan, heat sugar, stirring constantly. The sugar will form clumps & eventually melt into a thick brown, amber colored liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.
  2. Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add the butter. Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added. Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2 minutes. If you notice the butter separating, remove from heat & vigorously whisk to combine it again.
  3. Very slowly, drizzle in the heavy cream while stirring. Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble when added. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils. Remove from heat & stir in 1 teaspoon of salt. Allow to slightly cool down before using. Caramel thickens as it cools.
Apples
  1. In a large, heavy skillet melt butter. Add prepared apples & sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning; add brown sugar & cinnamon. Cook, covered over medium-high heat, until apples begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat & drain off any liquid. This juice can be used for something else as it will make the caramel sauce too runny if not drained off.
Assembly
  1. Divide the apple filling between the 6 crepes, placing each portion in the center of the crepe. Drizzle a bit of the salted caramel sauce over top of the apples. Gather the sides up to enclose the filling, secure with a toothpick.
  2. On serving plates, either pour a small amount of salted caramel sauce in center of plate or create a design with it. Set the apple 'aumoniere' in the center of the plate & sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

Angel Food w/ Coconut Whipped Cream & Fruit

Angel food cake is one of Brion’s absolute favorites. Its one of those iconic cakes that seems to have been around forever. The women of my mother’s generation seemed to have no problem baking this very tall, feather light cake from ‘scratch’. Fast forward to the present and all we have to do is buy a ready made mix, add some water and there you have it …. one big, lovely angel food cake.

Of course you can eat it plain or dress it up …. a blank canvas waiting for something interesting to happen! Did you know you can make a decadent whipped cream by using a can of coconut milk? Not only is the technique simple, but you can use it just like regular dairy whipped cream. Coconut whipped cream is a good choice for desserts, smoothies, over a bowl of fruit, on a pie or fruit crisp even pancakes.

The pairing of coconut cream with sugared kiwis, a sprinkling of blackberries and some angel food cake tastes amazing. For today’s blog, I’m using individual bundt pans. The recipe only makes four and is perfect for a summer evening.

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Angel Food w/ Coconut Whipped Cream & Fruit
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Coconut Whipped Cream
Sugared Kiwis
Mini Angel Food Cakes
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Ingredients
Coconut Whipped Cream
Sugared Kiwis
Mini Angel Food Cakes
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Instructions
Coconut Whipped Cream
  1. Chill the can of coconut milk in the fridge for at least 24 hours. About an hour before making the coconut whipped cream, chill a mixing bowl & beaters in the freezer.
  2. After chilling the can, remove it from the fridge & FLIP IT UPSIDE DOWN. Open the can & scoop the solid white coconut cream into the chilled bowl. Save the coconut water for another use (such as a smoothie).
  3. Using a mixer, whip the cream until fluffy & smooth. Add in sweetener & vanilla. Return whipped cream to fridge until ready to use. It will firm when chilled & soften at room temperature.
Sugared Kiwis
  1. In a bowl, place sliced kiwi, add a sprinkling of sugar across the top. Gently give it a stir & cover it with a lid or saran wrap. Place bowl in the fridge & allow to sit for at least 4 hours or overnight. The sugar softens up the kiwis & brings out its own juices to make a syrup. More sugar generally will mean more syrup.
Mini Angel Food Cakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. You will need 4 mini bundt pans OR mini angel food pans.
  2. In a small bowl, sift together flour & 4 Tbsp sugar.
  3. In a large bowl, on high speed, beat egg whites until foamy, about 1 minute. Add lemon juice, vanilla & salt.
  4. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Then continue beating on high speed until STIFF peaks form, about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Fold in the flour mixture using a rubber spatula until all of the flour is incorporated, being careful not to deflate the egg whites.
  6. Divide batter between 4 mini bundt or angel food pans. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown & tops spring back when touched. Cool completely. Assemble desserts & serve.
Recipe Notes
  • Some brands of canned coconut milk will be better than others for making whipped cream & even some cans within the same brand can vary quite a bit. 
  • Always look for a full-fat can that does NOT have guar gum listed in the ingredient list.
  • I used the full-fat  AROY-D brand & it worked quite well.

Chicken Avocado Fiesta Salad

For some of us, the best part of salads is everything but the greens! I have always had a hard time digesting lettuce so I’m never drawn to it when we get to salad season.

The idea of a full meal (lettuce-less) salad has always appealed to me. Of course there are many of these using a variety of ingredients. Probably one of the most popular was the taco salad. The earliest record of it dates back to the 1960’s with its predecessor being the small teacup-sized ‘Tacup’. It consisted of beef, beans, sour cream and cheese, served in a small ‘bowl’ made entirely of a Fritos tortilla.

The taco in a Tacup was invented by Charles Elmer Doolin, the founder of Fritos (tortilla chips). He created a device that looked like tongs but with two tart molds at the end of each tong. One mold would fit within the other mold with a tortilla sandwiched between them. The scalloped-edged shell was the dipped into hot oil. Holes in the bottom mold exposed the tortilla to the hot oil, enabling it to cook evenly.

Tacups were first served in Dallas, Texas in the early 1950’s and by 1955, he was selling them in Fritos’ flagship restaurant, ‘Casa de Fritos’, at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. It became popular enough that the Tacup was made bigger and served as a full, main-dish sized salad bowl.

Today’s salad is a satisfying meal (without a shred of lettuce) served in an edible tortilla bowl.

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Chicken Avocado Fiesta Salad
Instructions
Marinade
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together marinade ingredients. In a large resealable plastic bag, pour marinade. Add sliced chicken; seal & turn to coat. Refrigerate for 1-4 hours. When finished marinating, cook chicken over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes or until meat is no longer pink. Remove from heat & set aside.
Salad
  1. Cook corn cobs in a pot of boiling, salted water, covered for 5-7 minutes. When cool enough to handle, hold the corncob vertically on a slip-proof cutting board & cut corn kernels from top to bottom around the sides with a sharp knife. Leave corn in bite-sized pieces.
  2. Fry bacon slices until brown & crispy. Chop into small pieces.
  3. Peel, pit & cube avocados. Sprinkle with a bit of lime or lemon juice to keep from turning brown. Dice Roma tomato. Slice green onions, chives & dill. Drain sliced black olives. Cube Gouda cheese.
Tortilla Bowls
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush the inside of 2 heat-resistant glass bowls with oil. Place one tortilla in each bowl so that the shape more or less adheres to the bowl. Line each tortilla with cheddar cheese slices & then place the second tortilla on top.
  2. Place the bowls with the layered tortillas in the oven & bake for 7 minutes. Remove the bowls from the oven & allow to cool before removing the 'edible tortilla bowls'.
Assembly
  1. Place tortilla bowls on serving plates. Place cooked chicken on the bottom, top with corn, avocados, tomato, onions, olives Gouda & herbs. Drizzle with Ranch dressing (or dressing of choice). If you wish, before putting the dressing on, give it 30 seconds in the microwave to warm it slightly again.

Avocado Dinner Buns w/ Major Grey’s Mango Chutney

Although, avocados are most traditionally used as a main ingredient in guacamole or to top a salad or sandwich, used in baking they are amazing.

When adding them into yeast bread recipes, you can replace all the butter with equal amounts of room temperature, mashed, ripe avocado. The ripeness of the avocado is very important as it needs to be very soft for it to work perfectly.

In addition to their creamy texture and mild flavor, avocados have a high water content so they can help to make baking softer, chewier and less likely to crumble.

You can freeze mashed, fresh, ripe avocados if you want to have an ’emergency supply’ on hand. To freeze, mash the avocados with a fork or blender. Add some lime juice and mix well. For every avocado use about 1 tablespoon of lime juice to prevent them from browning. Fill a freezer weight zip-lock bag with this puree. Remove the air from the bag, then zip closed and freeze. Best to use frozen avocados within 4-5 months of freezing.

I thought some Major Grey’s mango chutney would be a perfect compliment to these avocado rolls. Major Grey’s chutney is a style of chutney not a brand. The ingredients in Major Grey’s chutney vary both across commercial brands and recipes, but a few elements seem to remain constant like mangoes, raisins, citrus, onions, a sugar of some sort, and warm spices. The chutney is sweet and tangy with a nice ‘kick’ of heat at the end that’s enough to compliment the different layers of flavor without consuming them. You will often see it served with curried dishes or as a compliment to meats and cheeses.

Major Grey’s chutney is considered by many the gold standard of all chutneys. Complete with its own legend of a 19th Century British Army officer who presumably lived in British India and created this unique condiment.

The great part about making your own chutney is that you can tailor the ‘sweet & heat’ balance to your own preferences. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with just picking up a jar at the supermarket!!

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Avocado Dinner Buns w/ Major Grey's Mango Chutney
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ROLLS
Servings
ROLLS
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Instructions
Avocado Rolls
  1. In a small bowl, place yeast, lukewarm milk & 1 tsp sugar. Stir; cover & set aside until frothy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup sugar, mashed avocado, eggs. Add yeast mixture & stir to combine.
  3. In another bowl, whisk flour & salt. Add flour mixture to yeast mixture gradually, combining after each addition. Once all flour has been added, knead on a lightly floured surface for about 2 minutes.
  4. Lightly grease the large bowl, place dough in it & cover with plastic wrap & a tea towel. Allow to rest for at least an hour in a draft-free place until dough has doubled in volume.
  5. Punch dough down. Divide into 18 equal pieces in shape into balls. Place into a greased baking dish & cover with plastic wrap/towel. Allow to rise until doubled in volume, about an hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake rolls about 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven; cool for just a few minutes then brush with the Tbsp of butter. Serve with Mango Chutney.
Mango Chutney
  1. In a saucepan, combine all chutney ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring, until reduced & thick. Refrigerate any not used on rolls.

Tropical Rice Crispy Cheesecake Squares

For most of us our taste in desserts has evolved from our childhood days. I really don’t recall my mother ever making the classic rice krispie treats — you know the one — chewy, crunchy, marshmallowy! Since she was someone who loved to bake and cook, desserts were the ‘norm’. My dad loved meat, potatoes and sweets, which was all fine being a hard working farmer. It all balanced out, but for us kids, inheriting that love of sweets hasn’t always been a good thing. Nevertheless, like I mentioned, our tastes do evolve.

Quite a few years back, I made a version of rice krispie bars which were called ‘sinless snack bars’. They not only used rice krispies and marshmallows but some more ‘healthy’ ingredients such as flax and pumpkin seeds along with some dried cranberries.

We all know, it wouldn’t be summer without having cheesecake so I’m thinking why not incorporate these two favorites into one. Then take it just a step further and top it with a tropical flavor. I think, this version bridges the gap between a nostalgic childhood treat to an adult indulgence. You be the judge!

Print Recipe
Tropical Rice Crispy Cheesecakes
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Rice Krispie Base
Cheesecake
Guava Glaze/ Pistachios
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Rice Krispie Base
Cheesecake
Guava Glaze/ Pistachios
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Rice Krispie Base
  1. Line a 9 X 9-inch square pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Lightly butter foil & a wooden spoon. In a large bowl, combine rice krispies, flax flakes, pumpkin seeds,flax seeds & salt. In a large pot, melt butter; add marshmallows & stir with wooden spoon until marshmallows have completely melted. Stir in vanilla then add rice krispie mixture & QUICKLY combine well.
  2. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan; press into an even layer while warm. Let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes until firm. MAKE GUAVA GLAZE AT THIS TIME then continue with cheesecake layer.
Cheesecake
  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine gelatin with 2 Tbsp water; set aside to soften, about 5 minutes. Beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed with a hand mixer until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of bowl. Add sour cream, sugar, lemon juice & vanilla. Beat until smooth, about 1 minute.
  2. Microwave the gelatin in 10 second increments, stirring as needed, until it dissolves, 30-50 seconds. Pour the gelatin into cream cheese mixture; beat on medium-high speed until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
  3. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the cooled rice krispie layer. Spread out evenly with an offset spatula. Spoon small amounts of guava glaze to be swirled in a random pattern onto cheesecake batter. With the tip of a knife, swirl glaze to form a pretty pattern. Sprinkle with chopped pistachio nuts.
  4. Wrap the pan loosely with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight until set. Remove from refrigerator & cut into squares.
Guava Glaze
  1. In a small saucepan, combine guava paste & water. Place over low heat only until warm to the touch. Transfer the mixture to a food processor & pulse until smooth. Stir in fresh lemon juice.
Recipe Notes
  • Don't hesitate to make these in any shape you choose.